First Amendment And Music Censorship Essay

1301 words - 5 pages

The First Amendment to the Bill of Rights exists because the Founders of our country understood the importance of free expression. The First Amendment states "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press . . ." (Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution 17). One of the ways the American people use this freedom of speech and expression is through the creation of the art form known as music. Music's verbal expression bonds our society through our emotions and experiences. This fundamental right of freedom of expression is being threatened by public and governmental groups who believe they have authority to monitor and decide what others should experience. The censorship of music lyrics is a violation of our First Amendment right, and public groups should not be allowed to bypass this right to censor obscene lyrics produced in the music industry.Through the decades, artists such as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones have raised controversy over their seemingly explicit acts that are now viewed as legendary. Parents banned their children from watching Elvis Presley and his outrageous hip movements though today these moves are copied by Britney Spears, pop groups, and dancers all over the world. In 1956, Ed Sullivan deemed Elvis "unfit for a family audience." However, in 1970 Elvis met the President in the Oval Office, and now his face appears on a postage stamp (RIAA; History 2 of 4). On June 15, 1966, The Beatles released their album Yesterday...and Today featuring a shocking cover with the foursome surrounded by raw meat and butchered baby dolls. Immediately the album was withdrawn from music shelves everywhere and returned only with a new approved cover, now the original copy is worth thousands of dollars. Today Beatlemania is considered an era of their own, which began in Great Britain and spread throughout the world. In 1964, The Rolling Stones catapulted to fame amid outrage and controversy about the surliness of their demeanor and the length of their hair. The Stones were considered "dangerous" and riots and scenes of hysteria erupted wherever they played. "Today, they're in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, winners of the prestigious Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and on the cover of TIME magazine" (RIAA; History 2 of 4). "There's nothing new about pop and rock music finding its roots in the anger and rebellion of young people, and there's nothing new in older people expressing unrealistic fears about that music" (RIAA; History 3 of 4). History has shown us that what may be initially perceived as objectionable is actually only the reaction of a new or different experience.Musicians are protected under the First Amendment equally as any citizen in the United States of America. They deserve the same basic human rights we all practice, "however the freedom of expression has special relevance for musicians (Hald 1 of 8). "This offers a special protection of musicians...

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